British-isms Part 2

yoyobon_gw

How is Boxing Day celebrated today? What are the origins of it and is it a national holiday ?

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colleenoz

Boxing Day is the day when traditionally the servants received their “Christmas boxes” from their employers. It’s a public holiday in Australia, not sure about the UK but I’d expect it is. Nowadays it’s really just a public holiday, though for us personally it’s my Sis-in-law’s birthday so we celebrate that.

Boxing Day is also St Stephen’s feast day aka the feast of Stephen, as in Good King Wenceslas :-)

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vee_new

Yes, Boxing Day is still a public holiday (we call them Bank Holidays going back to when banks and similar institutions gave their staff the day off). It is also a holiday in Canada.

Most people 'celebrate' by either sitting about after eating too much on Christmas Day, attending/watching sport events, or if masochists fighting their way through the post-Xmas Sales.

In Ireland it used to be known as Wren Boys Day after the now defunct custom of shooting the little birds on the 26th.

In country areas the tradition of the Boxing Day hunt 'meet' is still popular . . . especially so after fox-hunting was banned by Tony Blair's Govt. He later admitted he had no knowledge of 'country matters' . . . and obviously had never tried to keep hens or other livestock. Keen huntsmen and riders now have to travel to Ireland if they want to feel the 'thrill of the chase' as the UK hunts and hounds can now only follow a 'scent' and must not catch an animal . . .

As Colleen says it was the day when servants received their 'boxes' ie a Christmas tip or bonus. Until recently the postman, paper-boy, dustmen (trash collectors) and other public servants were all given tips by householders.

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annpanagain

Vee, your comment about the tips sent me down Memory Lane. The last time I left a Christmas tip was over 20 years ago to the boy who delivered my newspapers in the UK. He dropped off a charming Thank You note in reply.

These days, postmen deliver what few letters are sent by snail mail on fast moving mopeds or similar, the rolled and plastic-covered newspaper is chucked from a moving car at 2am and the dustmen pick up the bins automatically as they sit in their trucks. You couldn't catch any of them to tip as they go about their business!

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vee_new

Annpan, our dustmen are just doing their 'round' as I write . .. you can hear them from way down the street. We now have to leave our rubbish/trash in colour-coded plastic boxes. So plastic and cans in a green box, glass in another. Paper/cardboard in a heavy duty blue bag, 'food waste' in a small 'caddy' and what is left in a large wheelie bin. Every other week we have a garden-waste collection in a green wheelie bin. But the council craftily makes us pay for this at about £15 pa.

These young men do a good job as the contents of each container are thrown into separate compartments in the truck. Personally I think once in the bowels of the machine it just goes into one big heap and is then shipped out to ??? where it is left to rot on some faraway shore.

Another problem for Greta Thunberg to sort out. ;-(

The post is delivered by van from the local mail sorting office and put into each letter box as are the newspapers; never thrown in front of the house . . . and our family/children have had the village 'paper-round' for over 25 years. DH has just thrown the towel in as he is feeling his age and is fed-up with going out in the rain early each morning . . . and Boy! has it ever rained this Autumn/Winter.

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yoyobon_gw

Vee.......unfortunately the plastic garbage never rots but ends up somewhere forever, like those enormous masses of floating plastic debris in the Pacific ocean.

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annpanagain

I suspect the mass heaps of carefully sorted waste exist. In fact, one Council has admitted to it because of a breakdown in sending rubbish off-shore. However the residents were asked to keep up the habit for when normal service is resumed!

It would be impossible to deliver newspapers to each residence without throwing them into the garden as suburban homes here are generally built on quite large blocks, old ones on a third-acre of land down to a fifth acre for small modern places. When we lived in a tower, the newspapers were left on a bench seat in the ground floor foyer and we had to collect them from there.

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yoyobon_gw
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astrokath

Also in Australia, we have the first day of the Boxing Day cricket Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. For many, watching this and eating leftovers is the sum of Boxing Day.

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yoyobon_gw

Vee, a group of friends were discussing the Queen today. We wonder if, when she steps down, Charles will be the automatic heir to the throne . Can he refuse it and pass it to his son ? How does this work ?

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colleenoz

Why do you assume the Queen will step down? Traditionally the monarch dies in office. The only one I can think of who abdicated was Edward VIII, and that caused a huge fuss.

Of course Charles is the automatic heir, as when he was born the heir was the oldest male offspring of the monarch. He could abdicate but I doubt he would.

The succession goes, or at least it did before young George was born- oldest male offspring, if he has predeceased the monarch, his offspring starting from oldest male and so on; if the oldest male heir had no legitimate offspring, the next oldest male, then his offspring, and so on; if there is no male heir living in the first generation and none of any non-living male heirs had offspring before they died or if there were no males in that generation, the crown passes to the oldest female heir and so on.

Just before little George was born they changed the rules so that from his generation on, it's strictly birth order regardless of gender.


For instance, George III had many children. When he died, his eldest son and child, George IV took the throne. George IV had one legitimate child, Charlotte, who predeceased him after giving birth to a stillborn child. When George IV died, the crown passed over the next eldest male, Prince Frederick, who had died without issue, to the third son, William IV. While William IV had quite a large number of illegitimate offspring, he had no legitimate children and so on his death the crown passed over the next child, who was a woman, to the next oldest son, Edward. Sadly for Edward, he had already died but he left behind a daughter who became Queen Victoria.

Edited slightly to make it a little clearer :-)

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yoyobon_gw

Thanks Colleen......my friends, not knowing anything about the rules of monarchs, assumed that the Queen was getting on and would probably want to hand her job over to someone else ! ( I know, I know...but don't shoot the messenger :0)) Apparently they have much to learn about these matters.

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vee_new

yoyo, all as Colleen says! Just to add that the Queen would never resign/step-down as her most solemn Coronation vows made it understood that she would reign until death.

Edward VIII was never crowned, although all the arrangements were in place. This was partly why there was such a rush on the part of the those in High Places to get the Abdication done before his Coronation.

I think knowing that you will be the next king/queen must be a huge responsibility and as for poor George VI, to be thrown in 'at the deep end' must have been horrible.

Of course other Royal Houses follow different traditions such as the Royals of the Netherlands who have abdicated for many generation.

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annpanagain

Yoyobon, inheritance of British titles can be very confusing.

Some time ago I read an article about an American socialite who was being interviewed for a USA magazine. She was thrilled because she had a relative, Mr. X, who was, she hoped, getting married to a titled British woman, who was in the process of getting a divorce. She seemed to think that the relative would be getting the title, which actually belonged to the husband! The British people would love him, she gushed.

Of course, in reality Her Ladyship, with no title of her own, would only be Mrs. X after the marriage. The interviewer didn't realise this error either or would have mentioned it surely.

The marriage never did take place. I don't know why...

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vee_new

Perhaps Mr X realised in time that the marriage wouldn't bring in any money. Many Americans suppose that 'aristocrats' are very wealthy, when In fact they might own titles, castles, land etc but have very little of the 'readies'.

Annpan re titles. They can be a mine-field for those that either know or care; can't they?

Think of all the people who refer to the late Diana, Princess of Wales as 'Princess Diana'. Not so, as she wasn't born a princess, whereas Princess Anne . . . was.

There are books (think Debrett's) huge heavy tomes dealing with whether the younger son of of an Earl should go into dinner before the cousin of an archbishop.

I suppose in the US you just have to have a copy of your latest bank statement to jump the line at KFC!



Guide to the Peerage


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annpanagain

Although I do know better, I usually refer to "Princess" Diana as that is what people know her as. It is really a short form of her correct title. I can't remember now but was she still known as the Princess of Wales after the divorce?

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yoyobon_gw

Okay......shall we talk about it ? Harry and Meghan leaving "the fold". I am so proud of him for taking a stand for his wife and child. He is a wise man to cut loose and make their own life. I wish them blessings abounding. *High 5*

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woodnymph2_gw

Yoyo, I am in solid agreement with you on H & M. I think one could see this coming, given that both H & M have such independent spirits. It is being said they will live in Canada, mostly. It is a "sticky wicket", however, in terms of giving up their royal finances and having to strike out on their own to make their own "living." I do wonder why they did not let the Queen in on this before they announced it.

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vee_new

yoyo, don't know if I am able to agree with you, although many Americans over at the H T site seem to think it is a great move.

Firstly, I know no more than any of us about the 'truth' of the situation but I understand from the BBC (usually accurate) that H and M issued their 'statement' without speaking to HM Queen or getting any advice from Palace officials.

On the surface it seems as thought they have spent the last 6 weeks in Canada (and probably months before) listening to N American friends/PR folk as to the way Meghan would like to go . . . I really think that without her input Harry would have been happy to jog along as before; it is the only way of life he has known.

They want to get away from all the hand-shaking and the intrusion of the Press, but they want to keep their Royal status? How are they going to fund their new life-style? I imagine M could go back to making TV/movies. But H? He seems a decent chap but will he rely on 'friends' to help him with his charity work. He could never get a regular 'job'.

His not inconsiderable income is mostly derived from the Prince of Wales private Duchy of Cornwall estates. After what is being seen as a snub to the Royal Family will they be so willing to hand over the cash?

At the moment the cost of their security, although not made public, is known to be sky-high. Who will cover these charges?

As for M's dislike of Press intrusion. If/when they spend more time in Canada/US will the Press there be any more gentle/understanding? Over here, unlikely as it might seem the UK Press know their boundaries and there is a certain protocol between them and the Palace.

I don't see how they can go on calling themselves 'Royal' in their possible new life. Fine if they want to cut out all the pomp and circumstance and become Mr and Mrs . . . but you can't always have your cake and eat it.

I'm just throwing these thoughts out . . . maybe H and M should have done the same with the Queen, Prince Charles, William etc.


BBC information

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msmeow

It seems to me if they don't want to be in the Royal fold any more, the Royals shouldn't have to pay for security. "Regular" people in the US don't have private security. :)

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Yes, but , they can't ever be "regular" people. You can't unring a bell.

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colleenoz

Whether they are “officially royal” or not, they will always be a target.

I’m pretty sure they’re off the Queen’s Christmas card list, because she’s very big on duty and sees the duty of royalty as being patrons of good causes, accepting invitations to open facilities etc.

I liked Megan, but she’s proving to be more and more self-focused and taking Harry, who was turning out to be a very nice young man, with her. For Pete’s sake, the way she carried on you’d think she was the only person ever to have a baby. And all the hiding from the public! Kate and Wills don’t carry on like that, and yet their children seem to be growing up fairly normal.

I do think Harry will end up very unhappy, because this will cause a big rift between him and the rest of his family that may never be mended.


I see they’re planning to keep Frogmore House as their UK pied a terre. I suspect Her Majesty will have something to say about that, plus I suspect The Bank of Charles may close its coffers.

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yoyobon_gw

Don't you suppose the boys were covered in Diana's will ?

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astrokath

I totally agree with Vee. If they don't want to be royal any more, fine, but they should then not have Frogmore House and not be Duke and Duchess of Sussex. You can't have your cake and eat it too - either you're royal or you're not.

I imagine the Queen is devastated by this.

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colleenoz

Oh, Harry really has more than enough from bequests to be getting on with if Meghan stops buying zillion dollar clothes every five minutes.

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vee_new

I see from the news MM is back in Vancouver to pick up Baby Archie. .. or maybe he's with friends in Toronto, or perhaps at Mom's in California? Better phone Nanny to check.

I don't fawn over the Monarchy but like Colleen, I had a lot of time for Meghan. She seemed like a breath of fresh air, she's American so good for cross-Pond relationships and her mixed-race didn't bother the Royals at all . . . remember the Commonwealth has far more non-white than white people within its ranks. HM had welcomed her into the fold . .. making up for the Diana treatment (?) But this on-going secrecy is so strange, far more than just wanting to be 'private'. I know none of us would want the baying hounds of the Press outside our room while giving birth (unlike, up to the nineteenth century when a 'live' audience had to watch!) but making out the baby had been born at home when it had taken place in hospital then later refusing to name the child's Godparents? Could Harry have thought that out for himself? It may all appear trivial but these are the small events that make up the Royals in the eyes of the public.

It is well known that the Royal 'firm' can be very hard on anyone who breaks with protocol. Think right back to the time when the Royal Governess wrote a harmless and rather gushing book about the 'Little Princesses'. She had spent the best part of her life in their service but they never contacted or spoke to her again. Will Harry land up in a similar position to the Duke of Windsor, enough money to play golf and buy his demanding wife huge amounts of flashy jewellery, but bored out of his skull?

As Colleen says Harry could so easily land up being the unhappy person here.


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yoyobon_gw

I suspect that on a scale of 'devastation' the Queen might have been more upset by Andrew's debacle. This is the world today. Old ways are melting away and perhaps that is for the best. I hope H & M are able to divest themselves of all the shackles they perceive in their lives and get on with it all with the least amount of drama ...if that is even possible.

Perhaps that's simply an American view, having not been immersed in the Royal mentality for generations.

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vee_new

I think you are right yoyo about the American view and probably because I am more than 'three score years and ten', as the poet says, it makes me sad/worried/cross that Harry seems to have lost the sense of duty, so strong in HMQ, that would have been instilled in him since birth. It is all very well being an independent spirit but his sense of responsibility towards his family, especially his brother seems to have gone right out of the window. I realise being even a minor 'Royal' comes with too much forced smiling, handshaking and going on tours of grummit factories but they do have plenty of down-time whether it's the bracing fresh air at Balmoral, skiing is some fancy Swiss resort or sunning themselves in the Caribbean. I don't imagine he has ever had to think of the cost of anything and, 'though in no way wanting to disparage his trips to Africa or work with the Invictus Games how will he carry on without the spondulicks? Without people to arrange first class plane flights, accommodation and so on? Even when in the Army all this was taken care of by others.

I keep thinking of the empty dreary life the Duke of Windsor had to endure when he gave up the Throne for 'the woman I love'.

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vee_new

yoyo, regarding Andrew . . . I think had his father been 20 years younger he would have had plenty to say! And probably in the language of the Quarter-deck.

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annpanagain

Vee, are you really FOUR score years and ten? (-:

I haven't made any comment about the H&M bombshell. I am too removed from what has been going on at Home but I have noticed a certain amount of spitefulness towards the Duchess and I don't even read newspapers or gossip magazines!

I hope that an amicable resolution can be found.

I have noticed that the modern emphasis on the unsuitability of Mrs. Simpson seems to be that she was an American but I recall people of my older relatives generation were more upset by the fact she was twice divorced with living husbands.

A number of Queens and even Kings of the Country have been foreign born and apart from William the Conqueror, made welcome even if in some cases with reservations eg Albert and Phillip, both husbands to sovereigns.

At a time when being divorced was a social difficulty, a twice-divorced Queen could have been a big problem.

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colleenoz

As the Sovereign is by definition head of the Church of England, being married to a divorced person is simply not possible. Kind of ironic when you consider that the Church of England began as a direct result of Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Mrs Simpson was not only twice divorced, but seen as a social climber and a gold digger. No one was particularly bothered about her being an American as it was fairly common for British aristocrats to marry Americans, especially when those Americans were wealthy and the family coffers were running low. Winston Churchill’s mother was an American heiress, for instance.

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vee_new

Re Mrs Simpson, it appears that when 'push came to shove' she was not all that keen on marrying Edward. It was rather that he was so needy he couldn't live without her. It was certainly a good opportunity for the Govt of the day. They realised that Edward would have made an unreliable king and were very keen to point out that the Church, the British people and those of the Commonwealth could never tolerate his marrying a divorced woman. Luckily the king was coerced (?) into abdicating just before his Coronation. Had he gone through with it they would have been stuck with him.

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yoyobon_gw

After reading her diary I noted that Wallis really wanted to marry Edward and thus become Queen. When he abdicated prior to a coronation she was "between the rock and the hard place" so to speak.

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vee_new

yoyo, I didn't realise that Wallis' diary had been published. She certainly didn't treat him very well later in their marriage but then being with him must have been very tedious. Didn't he keep on about the Royal Family refusing to make her an HRH?

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woodnymph2_gw

As an American, I should probably stay out of this fray but I can't help thinking of the concept of "karma", recalling how unkind most of the royals were to Diana. I understand Harry's sensitivity towards the press. Meghan said once "I knew this would be difficult, but I expected it to be fair." Most Americans think of Brits in terms of the traditional spirit of "fair play." I wonder if she was referring to covert racist remarks from some?

Having said that, I do wish that both Oprah and President Trump would stay out of this. No one asked your opinions and we are not interested!

I cannot imagine that the marriage of H and M would ever be anything less than happy. They both have worthwhile charitable goals and common ideals and interests. I see them as kindred spirits, in their love of independence.

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sheri_z6

I thought I read somewhere that Prince Charles wanted to slim down the monarchy much like the Swedish court did (Carl Gustaf removed 5 of his grandchildren from the royal house and rescinded their royal titles last year). Though I doubt he wanted Harry to be on that list, maybe it's not a bad thing. It has to be tough when your assigned life's work is to be "the spare" to the the heir.

I imagine that the racist crap Meghan has had to put up with since day one (not from the royal family, but in print and social media) coupled with the constant hounding by the press has just proven to be too much.

Considering what happened to Diana, just the press alone has to be pretty triggering for Harry. I'm sure H & M hope this move will enable them to pick and choose when to enter the fray and allow them to retreat to safety when they want to, rather than being in the thick of it constantly, though that might not be the case. There are paparazzi everywhere, after all, and they'll find them in Canada or California.

In any event, it's odd and unfortunate they didn't do this through the proper channels. But given QEII's incredible dedication to duty, as someone mentioned above, she may not have been inclined to agree to any of this. Perhaps their announcement was made to force the palace's hand? In any event, I doubt Prince Charles will cut them off, that would not play well in the press.

As for William and Catherine, they seem to have adapted well. They dole out just enough of their private life, kid photos, etc., to keep the press happy, and they also have almost never put a foot wrong which makes them kind of boring so they aren't hounded in the same way.

I really wish H & M well, I hope they can work all this out without any permanent rifts in the family.

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colleenoz

I don’t really recall “most of the royals being unkind to Diana”. Charles as her husband was emotionally involved if not also physically with Camilla, which was definitely wrong, but I don’t think Diana came in for any family disapproval until she started having affairs of her own (or at least, involvements which could be interpreted as such). Straying wives are generally looked on as worse than straying husbands, I think, because of the possibility that children they have may not be actually related to the family, which would be especially an issue when it’s the heir to the throne.

Diana was not always an angel, and she had her failings (don’t we all?) but for some reason the Americans seem to perceive her as a saint.

I think Harry ultimately will be unhappy because Meghan’s actions are cutting him off from the family he has been so close to all his life.

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vee_new

I wonder if some/much of this upset has been caused by navel-gazing, something seldom undertaken by English people, and probably Australians. Our upper lips are less stiff than those of previous generations but I do question this obsession with Harry's mental-health issues (and I'm not nay-saying they shouldn't be taken seriously in their proper place) The Royals don't wear their hearts on their sleeves so we don't know if they are different in private and certainly Harry and William went through a very rough patch after the death of their mother. Has what appeared a robust attitude to life in the army and plenty of fun times with pretty girls and male colleagues completely gone now he is with the pretty, bright girl with a Californian outlook on life? And yes, I know he is married and the father of a child but why has this apparently changed his persona so much?

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yoyobon_gw

In one of his latest remarks to the press ( live ... not quoted) he said that every time he hears the ' click, click' of cameras or sees the flashes he is immediately reminded of his mother's torment by the paparazzi and her death.

I think that now that he is a husband and father he wants to do everything to protect his family from that horror that he lived and obviously continues to be haunted by.


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colleenoz

I don’t think Harry was really old enough to be aware of what was going on vis a vis the paparazzi and his mother at the time, I think it’s something he’s been told about in the years since and been encouraged (possibly by Meghan to strengthen her case for staying out of the public eye- which is weird, considering she was an actress) to dwell on to his detriment. Certainly as vee points out, he didn’t seem to be much bothered by the Press’ presence prior to Meghan.

And I don’t think Diana was as troubled by the paparazzi as is claimed now. During the later part of her life, she worked the Press very well to bolster her causes.

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